Sustainability practices at

Pacuare Lodge

At Pacuare Lodge, we are fully committed to sustainable tourism. This means we strive to limit any negative impacts of our operations. At the same time, we have created strong programs to help support conservation and benefit nearby communities. This policy is by no means limited to the Lodge – it extends through our Böëna Wilderness Lodges: Lapa Ríos, Tortuga Lodge & Gardens, Monteverde Lodge & Gardens, and Cloud Forest Lodge. Read more about our Sustainability Policy.

As pioneers of sustainable tourism in Costa Rica, we have taken many steps to improve our relationship with the environment and local community social development. And we share the lessons we’ve learned with our guests, staff, and the surrounding communities. Through experience, we know that sustainable operations and environmental conservation are not only possible but practical.

Here are a few examples of sustainability in practice in Pacuare Lodge:

Costa Rica’s wild areas face multiple pressures, and Pacuare area is a prime example. Lack of development opportunities, and very few environmental education alternatives, threaten to unbalance the coexistence between local communities and the environment. A coexistence is essential for the survival and well-being of both. After all, the communities around the Pacuare River rely almost entirely on the tourism associated with the river and its surroundings.

We want our guests to know they are helping nature when they stay at Pacuare Lodge. Through a one-time $25/person Pacuare Lodge Conservation Support Fee—less than 1% of a standard vacation—our sustainability programs reach fruition. We share regular progress reports and updates with our guests through our blogs, newsletters and social media to demonstrate how significant their contributions are. Many guests are even inspired to give more to the fund. To keep in touch you can subscribe to our newsletter in the following link:

Our staff:

– Most Pacuare Lodge staff belongs to the closer communities like Nairi Awari Indigenous Reserve, Bajos del Tigre, Linda Vista, Santa Marta and other nearby communities between Turrialba Town and Siquirres. Pacuare Lodge provides direct or indirect employment to these communities that before lacked any source of formal employment. Their main income used to come from subsistence coriander cultivation and cattle raising.

– Through our Böëna Wilderness sister lodges we have a cross training program to improve and share knowledge from property to property, as we believe in empowering our staff and providing growth opportunities.

Community Outreach:

Sustainable tourism should improve the lives of local people, and we’ve made donations and initiated projects in the communities nearest to the Pacuare Lodge.

  • Pacuare Lodge believes responsible tourism should benefit and respect local communities and it consistently works toward this goal. The Lodge is in a remote area which as a result has been poorly maintained over time by local governments mainly due to its inaccessibility by conventional means. Its Community Support Program works to enhance the living standards of people along the Pacuare River and near the lodge by improving the infrastructure in this area. Pacuare Lodge supports the Preventive Emergency System in Bajos del Tigre School.
  • Pacuare Lodge supports local schools and provides funds to support environmental education, sports and other social programs in the area. It has restored the cable car service which local residents use to cross the river, and also through the years has helped keep the road accessible to use. Read more about the donation for potable water to the Nairi Awari Indigenous reserve
  • Since 2023, we support Yamá Soccer School with training basic supplies for over 80 teenagers near the Pacuare River area.

Children education:

– In addition to teaching our guests about the ecology of the surrounding rainforest, the Pacuare Lodge has launched an environmental education program for schools in nearby communities. Our goal is to raise awareness among local elementary school students of the importance of protecting their environment, and to promote the adoption of good practices that will help them have a more balanced relationship with nature, to live in an ever-healthier environment, and preserve natural resources for future generations. Teams of river guides and Pacuare Lodge staff were trained to give presentations at local schools. Read more

The presentations emphasize sustainability, in a practical, simple way, and urge the kids to adopt good habits, emphasizing 4C’s: CULTURE, CONSERVATION, COMMUNITY, and COMMERCE. Among the principal issues we want the children to understand are:

  • The importance of water in their environment and the need to protect water sources.
  • The importance of energy for human beings and the tools and techniques for conserving it.
  • Basic concepts about the local flora and fauna and the principals of their protection.
  • The basic principles of managing waste in our communities.
  • Biodiversity conservation.

Also in education, the lodge serves as classroom for training and basic courses of guiding, English lessons, and food handling, among other subjects, for the Cabecar Indigenous population from nearby reserves.

– We are founders of the Subcorredor Biológico Barbilla-Destierro, better known as “Paso del Jaguar”. This group studies and supports different projects and initiatives for conservation, sustainable production, and ecotourism, among other actions.

Turrialba Foundation:

– We are founders of Turrialba Foundation, a non-profit organization founded and based in sustainable tourism experiences through Boena Wilderness Lodges and the projects and operations, building options to improve quality living and a sustainable development with our projects and actions.

Fundación Turrialba first name was Turrialba Sostenible and was embraced by the local commerce and services chamber of Turrialba Town. Since the beginning the project was presented to the local government council, and as a result was declared of local interest and then registered as foundation.

– Cabecar Indigenous Culture program: At Pacuare Lodge, culture development is carried with the Nairi Awari Indigenous group. We support a group of Cabecar with an area and resources to promote their art, their techniques, using ancestral materials and supplies, helping carry their legacy from generation to generation. We also support them with job opportunities at the lodge, and through our Cabecar Hike Experience, our guests support their economy through learning and sharing, discovering their secrets through the Cabecar trails.

– Cabecar Ranch: sharing and promoting culture also means introducing the Cabecar Indigenous culture and customs to our guests. We use the Cabecar Ranch, built by members of a clan that lives in the nearby Nairi Awari Indigenous Reserve, located a short hike from the lodge, where the son of a local shaman provides visitors with an introduction to his people’s culture and customs.

– We offer the farm-to-table cuisine with traditional Costa Rican dishes included in our regular menu. Our guests can enjoy a delicious Pozol with corn kernels or the Pejibaye soup, the Casado, Caribbean style Ricen´beans, cas sorbet, or the Arroz con Leche. You can even try our crafted beer! Read more

– Through the Experiences we offer, we promote nature, cultural and culinary learning for our guests, promoting the local culture among our visitors. During our guests stays, Pacuare Lodge includes natural hikes like birdwatching and the Sustainability Tour, were we share some of our actions towards sustainability and we introduce our vision and pillars to our visitors. Read more

In Pacuare Lodge we celebrate and promote local artisans opening spaces for them to create and offer their art to our guests. Read more

We encourage our guests to learn about Costa Rican celebrations such as making “tamales” or celebrating our independence in September with “faroles” and typical meals while they stay in our lodge. Read more and

– The Pacuare Lodge was built with minimal impact on the surrounding forest and river. No trees were cut to accommodate the suites and main lodge; our buildings use lumber from a reforestation project run by small farmers. The lodge story involves effort and a unique vision from the owners. Since 1995, we have gone through constant evolution, carrying since the beginning the Böëna Wilderness Pillars.

– Suites, spa, and main buildings design include natural ventilation and illumination.

– Pacuare Lodge was the first adventure travel company to acquire parcels of primary forest in this area solely for the purpose of conservation. Over the years, we’ve purchased 340 hectares (840 acres) of primary rainforest along the Pacuare River both to protect the local ecosystem and to offset the atmospheric carbon created by our vehicles. Some of that forest was in danger of being cleared before we purchased it but is now strictly protected to conserve the flora and fauna that lives there. Because our goal is preservation of this untouched virgin rainforest, no visitors are allowed into this area.


– Our electricity comes from clean energy generated by 3 hydroelectrical turbines and 204 solar panels. The energy produced through these high-tech systems if stored in batteries for its responsible use. We have implemented an educational process to include guests’ participation in water and electricity efficient use, as well as staff and operative actions.

– We also implemented a management plan for water and electricity usage, involving guests and staff. This includes a constant invest in technology, data analysis, and reaching for usage reduction.

– We use electric cars (golf carts) our property to transfer our guests and supplies. These are charged at the lodge with clean energy produced in-house.


– Water for suites is solar heated with a high-tech solar panel system installed in each suite or villa.

– All the lodge’s wastewater flows into state-of-the-art septic systems to avoid pollution of the nearby river.

– The lodge’s bathrooms are equipped with biodegradable shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel. All laundry is made with biodegradable soap, and washers and dryers devices allow an efficient use of the electricity produced in-property.

  • We hold periodic cleanups and Böëna-supported EM Spheres activities at the creek bordering our property. The EM Spheres are a benevolent new solution to treat contamination and waste in the nation's waterways that include beneficial microorganisms such as fungi, yeast, and bacteria—with clay soil, rice semolina, and molasses, forming the mixture into fist-sized spheres and allowing it to ferment for 22 days. The results are biologically “activated” balls that, when introduced to bodies of water, begin reproducing and breaking down organic contaminants and improving water quality. By participating, students and even Böëna guests can be part of the positive change. By installing special water meters, we can measure our consumption and implement preventative actions for improved water management and the responsible use of resources, such as installing high-tech toilets for more efficient water use. Read more


– Pacuare Lodge operates a waste management program that includes all operative departments and guests, including separating inorganic wastes and organic material. Most organic waste is processed in a compost process, and solid wastes are responsibly managed in the Siquirres local recycling center.

– We recommend avoiding single use plastic bottles in Pacuare Lodge and we ask our guests to use reusable instead.


Since 2009, Pacuare Lodge has supported the Jaguar Program; we signed an agreement with National University and in addition to providing the researchers with food and lodging, we support cameras and equipment needed for their expeditions including tent camps, batteries for the cameras, and support with local guides.

This collaboration is a result of his growing concern about conservation and the environment, and the need to contribute to the preservation of its ecosystems. Read  more

The largest feline in the Americas, the jaguar was once common from the southwest United States to northern Argentina, but it has been eliminated from more than half of its original range during the past century. Those spotted cats continue to be threatened by hunters and ranchers in Costa Rica, where they are increasingly restricted to isolated protected areas that are too small to sustain their species. The jaguar project complements our comprehensive sustainable tourism policy, which includes efforts to decrease the lodge’s environmental footprint, benefit communities near the Pacuare River, and contribute to conservation. Those efforts range from recycling programs at all the company’s facilities to planting trees on former pastureland near the river and using wood from reforestation projects in construction of the Pacuare Lodge.

In recent years, the availability of affordable camera traps with movement sensors has revolutionized wildlife research. National University scientist placed camera traps along game trails in the Pacuare Lodge’s 340-hectare (840-acre) private rainforest reserve, the adjacent Nairí Awari Indigenous Reserve and remote Barbilla National Park. Over the years, she has captured approximately 5,000 photos and videos of mammals there with over 163 cameras donated by March 24. Through the equipment and research over the years, the program has documented that the rainforest surrounding the Pacuare Lodge is home to at least 18 species of large mammal, including five of the six felines native to Costa Rica and other rare species such as Baird’s tapir, the red brocket deer and naked-tailed armadillo. Carolina has used the photos and videos to identify five individual jaguars, since the rosettes – patterns of spots – of any given jaguar are as unique as a fingerprint. These include a rare black jaguar (a.k.a. black panther) a mutation that had only been documented in one other region of Costa Rica.


– We also support local community commerce with Pacuare Lodge daily operative requirements. Eggs, chicken, cheese, some of the protein required for meals, and other fresh produce is locally sourced.

– We support the Cabecar Indigenous Nairi Awari Reserve with our visits in the Cabecar Indigenous Hike.

– In Pacuare Lodge our guests support the local community through the Rural experience were our guest through their visit to the Bajo del Tigre Community, where many of our staff come from. This is a farming area, that produce spices, roots, and tubers. We promote visiting a local family’s home, trying traditional snacks learning about daily life in a rural Costarican small town, while supporting them through our visit.

– We offer locally produced products for sale at the lodge, for example chocolate and other artisan products like the laundry bags that are hand-made by Tirrases community women leaders.

We are Fellow Members of The Long Run, a membership organization of nature-based tourism businesses committed to driving holistic sustainability. Each member aspires to maintain a healthy and productive planet for posterity. Collectively, conserving over 23-million acres of biodiversity and improving the lives of 750,000 people. Through The Long Run, we support, connect, and inspire nature-based businesses to excel in the highest sustainable standards via the tried and tested 4C framework: Conservation, Community, Culture, and Commerce (4Cs).

Boena’s Collection of Wilderness Lodges forms part of the National Chamber of Sustainable Tourism (CANAECO). A non-profit organization, CANAECO provides stimulus to develop responsible and sustainable practices across the tourism industry.




Pacuare River has received the highest rating from the Costa Rican government’s Ecological Blue Flag Program for River Watersheds. Rafting and kayaking experts have long considered the Pacuare to be one of the world’s top whitewater rivers, primarily due to the quality of its environment and rainforest scenery. This Blue Flag rating confirms that it is an exemplary natural wonder, and includes working with local communities to involved them in the river’s protection. The company has always taken great care to ensure that the Pacuare Lodge has no negative impact on the river and together with local farmers and guests, is planting trees in the Pacuare watershed. This designation by the Ecological Blue Flag Program for River Watersheds – a pioneer project on a global level – is yet another recognition that the Pacuare is one of Costa Rica’s natural jewels.

In 2024 we had our third evaluation for the Sustainable Tourism Certificate (CST) from the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ICT), receiving the highest level of sustainability as ELITE. The CST is a technical tool to strengthen sustainable tourism industry in Costa Rica. It recognizes the organizations management that work actively to mitigate the impact of the operations. This certification empowers social, cultural, economic, and environmental development in Costa Rica touristic areas. Read more

Projects and Initiatives

Our sustainability efforts transcend each Böëna Wilderness Lodge to become agents of positive change for our children and generations to come. Through developing strong programs steeped in community participation and empowerment, we strive to ensure the restoration and conservation of Costa Rica’s unique natural areas and resources.

Discover more about our projects and contact us on if you want to become part of any of our sustainability initiatives.


Tools and Resources

Explore some of our sustainability documents, links, images and videos. Access to information is a key element for sustainable development.

Pacuare Lodge | Blog


Böëna Debuts Its Company-Wide Costa Rica Sustainability Policy

October 2023

In recent weeks, the BÖËNA Company of Wilderness Lodges officially released a Company-wide Sustainability Policy and corresponding Sustainability Manual that outlines its operational and administrative objectives in accordance with the standards set by the Costa Rican Tourism Board’s (ICT) Certificate for Sustainable Tourism and the United Nations’ Four Pillars of Sustainability. Read blog here!


Sustainability Report 2023

January 2024

At Böëna Wilderness Lodges we are committed to sustainable tourism and we seek to contribute to the development and improvement of the quality of life of the communities where we operate. This is a report of some of the programs, initiatives or activities that we have developed in 2023 with the collaboration of our staff, guests and support from donations we receive through our Conservation Fee. Read blog here!


United for the Jaguar

January 2024

Böëna expands its support of the Jaguar Program to include all five Wilderness Lodges. As one of the oldest wildlife monitoring programs in the country, the Jaguar Program continues to expand its investigative trajectory thanks to support from the National University of Costa Rica’s (UNA) International Institute of Wildlife Conservation and Management and private organizations—particularly Böëna Wilderness Lodges. Read blog here!


Böëna Wilderness Lodges Resumes Environmental Education Classes In Schools

June 2023

Without sustainability, Böëna Wilderness Lodges would not exist in this shape and form. Since our foundation, our objective has been to contribute to the conservation of some of the most biodiverse places on the planet for the enjoyment and wonder of generations to come. Read blog here!


Celebrating Costa Rica’s Talented Artists
Pacuare Lodge inaugurates the Amy Natalie Rojas fine art exhibit

At the young age of 19, Amy Natalie Rojas has achieved more acclaim than most of us do in a lifetime. Half Costa Rican and half Swedish, she hails from the small mountain town of Las Brisas de Pacuarito, where the Barbilla National Park is quite literally at her doorstep. Her immersion into the splendor of the natural world from such a young age inspired Amy’s desire to capture its many treasures… with her paintbrush.
Read blog here!


Female Empowerment at Böëna: Strength in Numbers

Stop by any of the four Böëna Wilderness Lodges, and you may notice there are a lot of women running the show. In fact, this collection of four exclusive ecolodges has become a bastion of female empowerment, with women in half of the top management positions.
Read blog here!


Where do you find Costa Rica’s best nature guides?

Welcome to the 2023 Böëna Guide Summit

Böëna Wilderness Lodges recently gathered its core teams of expert naturalists during a three-day Guide Summit in the ecologically unique mountains of Monteverde, Costa Rica. The unprecedented event took place September 18 through 20 at Böëna’s Cloud Forest Lodge and Monteverde Lodge & Gardens.
Read blog here!


Pacuare Lodge awarded CST’s Elite Level
honor for sustainability

On January 23, 2024, the Sustainable Tourism Certificate (CST) Technical Verification Commission awarded Pacuare Lodge the highest ELITE LEVEL title for their exemplary application of sustainable practices across all aspects of the lodge’s operations. The Elite Level status was awarded to four of Pacuare Lodge’s key service areas: accommodations, gastronomy, spa services, and adventure tourism.
Read blog here!


Pacuare Lodge makes an important contribution to the Nairi-Awari Indigenous Reserve

The Nairi-Awari indigenous territory is part of the Cabécar people of Costa Rica, it is located on the slopes of the mountains of the Central Caribbean zone. This small community of approximately 120 indigenous individuals is relatively isolated from civilization and is mainly dedicated to agriculture.
Read blog here!


First Soccer Tournament
for Jaguar Conservation

At Böëna Wilderness Lodges we create alliances with professionals and scientists who contribute to the research and consolidation of conservation projects and their dissemination and involvement with the community.
Read blog here!


Celebrate the holidays with Böëna and a traditional Costa Rican Tamaleada 

In Costa Rica, family and friends come first, and the holiday season is no exception. It is a time of gathering and sharing among loved ones and of celebrating the close-knit bonds of Costa Rican culture. Not surprisingly, food is a central component of the festivities, and the Costa Rican Tamale is the star of the show.  
Read blog here!


The Böëna-supported EM Spheres Project
is great news for Costa Rica’s rivers and watersheds

Good news is spreading for Costa Rica’s rivers and watersheds. With the introduction of a benevolent new solution to treat contamination and waste in the nation's waterways, the tourism industry, students, and even visitors can now be part of the positive change.
Read blog here!

Patriotic traditions
and other September stories

Costa Rica recently marked a significant milestone as it celebrated 202 years of freedom and independence on the 15th of September.
Read blog here!


Böëna’s Brewery Debut
Böëna’s team of brewers is cooking up a seriously noteworthy collection of craft beers

Most visitors to Böëna’s Wilderness Lodges are genuinely delighted to learn that—in addition to all the amazing attributes each lodge offers—Böëna makes its own Craft Beer!
Read blog here!